Sunday, March 29, 2009


Last Saturday, I joined a group of Rotarians that had a task--Plant 50 trees along a hillside to prevent erosion in one of our local parks. Last fall we had gone there and planted many native plants and trees right at the river’s edge. It was fun to see some of the leaves coming out on those early plantings.

Experts were there to show us to plant the trees. We learned that there are different techniques for planting evergreens and deciduous trees. There we were dumping trees out of pots, partially filling the holes for the evergreen because they do not want to be planted as deep as the deciduous trees. Then placing them so they were not crooked and filled in the remaining soil.

Turns out the sod that was broken when digging the holes, needed to be turned upside and formed into a little channel on the downside of the hill around the tree base. Held the water better so it could soak. Then a final sprinkling of dirt covered the sod.

Nothing like stepping back and seeing the results of your efforts and knowing it will make a difference for our environment.

Learnings of the Morning:

1. It is great to ask a friend to go with you – she was pleased with what she learned. She was a big help. The conversation afterwards over a cup of coffee warmed our bodies and our souls.

2. Early Saturday morning we had accomplished something and we had gotten fresh air.

3. Great to spend time out of meetings with Rotarians…lots of smiles and joking with each other. We also met their friends and family members.

4. A confession--until last fall I never been to Leverich Park, here in Vancouver , WA. What a treasure I have been missing!


If you do not know the answer to a question, do not pretend that you do. Instead say, “I don’t know the answer to that, let me check and then I will get back to you”. Then, of course, your creditability depends on your getting back to them with the answer.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


For the last three weeks, I have been on the road speaking, training and consulting. I was in eight airports, six cities, and six different hotels. Now before you start feeling sorry for me, I want to explain how I approach this kind of travel.

As the time approaches, I scurried around my home and office getting things in place for I know my stops at home along the way will be brief. It is necessary to think ahead about the bills that need to be paid and projects that need attention in the future.

I approach each trip as an adventure. Clearly, there are interesting people for me to meet and things to learn. I research the Chamber of Commerce sites of the towns I am visiting to see if there is any kind of special event going on in the area. If not, I look at the attractions in or near the cities, I will be visiting. For example, when I headed down to Glendora, California, I realized Huntington Gardens was not far away. The Huntington Library is the home of the original “Blue Boy” and “Pink” and the gardens are spectacular.

Packing has become pretty routine though I have learned to try on a new combination of clothing before I pack it – including the jewelry that would work best with the outfit. I have it down--can now pack for four days in an overnight case. Trust me that is a real accomplishment for me.

The day I begin travel, I start with a swim no matter how early my flight is – I know actual exercise so far has not been built to my on-the-road schedule. I wear something on the plane that is comfortable and classy---learned long ago I am treated well if I am dressed well.

In order to make all the waiting bearable at the airport, I have bought a Priority Pass that allows me to use the lounges of most airlines at the airport. Makes a huge difference when you get your feet up and in most lounges, there is free internet access to catch up on emails.

Time to get on the plane. Fill my aluminum bottle with water for there is never enough water for me a plane. In order to keep my ears/nose healthy, I take a decongestant and Afrin nasal spray. Lately, I have been using earplugs for the small planes….makes ones world much quieter and they say it helps with the air pressure.

Then it is time sit back, relax and get out the magazines that I have been meaning to read or continue reading the biography that peers into the lives of people who have lead fascinating lives.

So there you have it—Kathy Condon's preparation routine for travel.


If you are trainer, make sure you bring both regular markers and whiteboard markers. Invariably, either the venue doesn’t have them or they don’t work well. Better to be prepared.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


When my book “It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask: It’s all about Communication” was released, it was a very special day when I held the first copy in my hand. Can’t really explain the feeling.

It was interesting, I struggled with how I should I sign the book if I knew the person well. Should I write Kathy or Kathy Condon? Should I use the current date?

Cannot tell you how much energy I wasted on trying to figure out how to sign the book. Then I realized I could pose the question on LinkedIn Before I knew it I had answers flowing in to help me with my dilemma.

Yesterday, I was honored to be trainer for the California Placement Association at three different sites, San Mateo, Bakersfield, and Glendora, California. They purchased book for all attendees.

During the course of the day, attendees asked me to autograph their books. I made a decision. On the blank page following the title page I wrote something specifically for the individual and signed my whole name and dated it.

You can get advice from all over the world. When it comes down it, listen to your heart and do what that feels right for you. There is not a perfect person in the world---we are all unique – stay true to yourself.


Comment on your travels – hotels, places you enjoy etc., on travel sites such as, you will be amazed how the search engines picks up on your comments.

Sunday, March 08, 2009


Last week was unusual for I was in and out of five airports. I have a Priority Pass so I have the good fortunate of being able to use airline boardrooms or lounges at most airports. In those facilities, I can grab an espresso, find the local paper, and relax with my feet up on the numerous footstools that are scattered about the room. Clocks and airline schedules for arrival and departures are numerous.

It is time for me to gather up my stuff and head to the gate. Arriving at the gate, I notice there is very little room left to sit. I spy a seat between two people, so I settled in until boarding time.

Then I noticed something. The only people talking are parents working to keep their two-year old under some semblance of control. The scene included four people reading the newspaper, three people reading books, four people on laptops, and five people on cell phones and six people checking their emails.

People were communicating to some degree-across the country to love ones and colleagues are connecting, yet, they were only using words. The tone and body language of the communication was lost. I truly felt like an outsider peering into the private worlds of individuals….hard to explain.

Then I turned to the man next to me who was sitting there waiting. We began a conversation about life in the Midwest were I was from and where he was heading to visit a friend. The next thing I knew we were laughing and sharing our experiences with each other. He is an engineer that lives in Alaska that works on fire prevention on the Alaska pipeline.

When it was time to board, we smiled at each other and shook hands. It truly was a pleasure meeting and learning about someone’s life in his own words--tone and body language included.

Going to remember on my next trip to connect with more people….there is so much I do not know and what a great arena for stretching your mind.


On business trips, take along plain white envelopes. Makes it easy to organize business and personal receipts.

Monday, March 02, 2009


Actually, the correct statement is “Contact Cards are Shrinking in Size”. The trend toward naming them contact cards was started because people who were looking for work were not carrying cards because they did not have a business.

A contact card is necessary for those seeking employment. One cannot leave a resume with everyone you meet, but you can leave a contact card. It should include:



Phone number

Email Address

Note, I have left off position – companies have too many different names for the same job. In addition, when you are being interviewed, perhaps, there is a job with a better fit for your skills.

If you are a business owner, you know the importance of having your contact cards with you at all times. The more cards you can send out into the world, the better. One businessperson recently said, “Give them out like they are candy”.

Have you seen the new contact cards appearing out in the world-- the ones that measure ½ inch by 2.5 inches? On one side a glossy picture of something . The other side a name, or whatever material the individual wants to include in font size about 3 pt. – maybe even less.

Now for my reaction about miniature cards.

1. First, they are hard to hang on to and where do you put them? The one I received yesterday I had to really “fish” for it in my pocket this morning to find it so I could measure it.

2. No question I had to put my glasses on to read the information and even then, it was hard to read because this particular card was printed with red ink.

3. There is absolutely no room to write any kind of note on it.
a. To remind yourself where you met the person.
b. To write yourself a note to remind you to follow-up.

4. Now where do I put it so it doesn’t disappear forever?

Smiling--feel like the same way I do about a recent redesign of a Tide bottle. Never in my life had I written complaint about a product container – yet wrote, “Who at your company thought this bottle design was a good one”?

Tropicana went back to its' original packaging after customers’ complaints.

My personal belief is tiny contact cards was an idea --- an idea that probably should be shelved as soon as possible.


Learn from my mistake. Each time you put a link into an email, article, tweet, etc, test it before you send it. This week I sent out my "Weekly Wisdom" and accidentally put two periods in my blog address.